This apprenticeship has been retired

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Overview of the role

A leader who has senior management responsibility.

Senior leader (degree)

Reference Number: ST0480

Details of standard

Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship

A leader is someone who has senior management responsibility, and this can include formal governance/director responsibilities. They are responsible for direction and vision, providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent. They take into account market trends and environmental influences, identifying longer-term opportunities and risks. Through inclusive leadership, they are responsible for developing ethical, innovative and supportive cultures with the ability to deliver results.

They are a role model, with responsibility for those in senior positions/significant organisational budgets.

Occupation and profile:

Professional strategic leaders in the private, public or third sector and all sizes of organisation, who lead, manage and direct organisations. Specific job roles may include: Senior Leader, Section Leader, Executive, Director, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, senior military officer, HE Registrar and Head of Department/Faculty. 



What is required

Organisational Performance – delivering a long-term purpose


Knows how to shape organisational vision, culture and values. Understands organisational structures; business modelling; diversity; global perspectives; governance and accountability; the external environment, social, technological and policy implications. Understands new market strategies, changing customer demands and trend analysis.

Innovation & Change

Understands innovation; the impact of disruptive technologies (mechanisms that challenge traditional business methods and practices); drivers of change and new ways of working across infrastructure, processes, people and culture and sustainability.

Knowledge of systems thinking, knowledge/data management, and programme management.

Enterprise & Risk

Knowledge of ethics and values based leadership; regulatory environments, legal, H&S and well-being and compliance requirements; corporate social responsibility; risk management, environmental impact and cyber security. Understands competitive strategies and entrepreneurialism, approaches to effective decision making, and the use of big data and insight to implement and manage change.


Understands financial strategies including scenarios, modelling and identifying trends, application of economic theory to decision-making, and how to evaluate financial and non- financial information. Understands financial governance and legal requirements, and procurement strategies.

Interpersonal Excellence – leading people and developing collaborative relationships

Leading & Developing People

Knowledge of organisational/team dynamics and how to build engagement and develop high performance, agile and collaborative cultures. Understands approaches to strategic workforce planning including talent management, learning organisations, workforce design, succession planning, diversity and inclusion.

Developing Collaborative Relationships

Understands large scale and inter-organisational influencing and negotiation strategies. Knowledge of the external political environment and use of diplomacy with diverse groups of internal and external stakeholders. Understands working with board and company structures. Knowledge of brand and reputation management.


What is required


Organisational Performance – delivering a long-term purpose


Use of horizon scanning and conceptualisation to deliver high performance strategies focusing on growth/sustainable outcomes.  Sets a clear agenda and gains support from key stakeholders. Able to undertake research, and critically analyse and integrate complex information.

Innovation and Change

Initiates and leads change in the organisation, creates environment for innovation and creativity, establishing the value of ideas and change initiatives and drives continuous improvement. Able to manage conflict. Manages partnerships, people and resources effectively, and measures outcomes. Acts where needed as a Sponsor, championing projects and transformation of services across organisational boundaries.

Enterprise and Risk

Challenge strategies and operations in terms of ethics, responsibility, sustainability, resource allocation and business continuity/risk management. Application of principles relating to Corporate Social Responsibility, Governance, Regulatory compliance. Drives a culture of resilience and supports development of new enterprise and opportunities.


Oversees financial strategies/management, results and setting organisational budgets, and challenges financial assumptions underpinning strategies. Is accountable for decisions based on relevant information e.g. Key Performance Indicators/scorecard. Uses financial data to allocate resources.  Oversees procurement, supply chain management and contracts.

Interpersonal Excellence – leading people and developing collaborative relationships

Engaging Employees

Uses personal presence and “storytelling” to articulate and translate vision into operational strategies, demonstrating clarity in thinking and using inspirational communication. Creates an inclusive culture, encouraging diversity and difference. Gives and receives feedback at all levels, building confidence and developing trust, and enables people to take risks.

Leading and Developing People

Enables an open and high performance working, and sets goals and accountabilities for teams and individuals. Leads and influences people, building constructive working relationships across teams, using matrix management where required. Ensures workforce skills are utilised, balancing people and technical skills and encouraging continual development.

Building Collaborative Relationships

Manages complex relationships across multiple and diverse stakeholders. Builds trust and rapport, with ability to positively challenge. Leads beyond area of control/authority, and able to influence, negotiate and use advocacy skills to build reputation and effective collaborations.


What is required (developed and exhibited in the workplace)

Personal and interpersonal effectiveness

Leads by Example

Has high levels of self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence, empathy and compassion, and able to identify mental well-being in others. Works collaboratively enabling empowerment and delegation. Acts with humility and authenticity, is credible, confident and resilient.

Judgement and Challenge

Takes personal accountability aligned to clear values. Demonstrates flexibility and willingness to challenge when making decisions and solving problems. Instils confidence demonstrating honesty, integrity, openness, and trust.

Courage & Curiosity

Is confident and brave, willing to innovate, seeks new ideas and looks for contingencies. Manages complexity and ambiguity, comfortable in uncertainty, and is pragmatic.

Valuing Difference

Engaging with all – is ethical and demonstrates inclusivity, recognising diversity, championing, and enabling cultural inclusion. Empowers and motivates to inspire and support others.


Reflects on own performance, demonstrates professional standards in relation behaviour and ongoing development. Advocates the use of good practice within and outside the organisation.



The typical duration is 2 – 2 ½   years, depending on previous experience.

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. This may involve previous management experience, having undertaken an apprenticeship or qualifications.


Successful apprentices will achieve a Master’s degree in management [either MA, MSc or MBA]. English and Maths will be required at a minimum of Level 2 prior to the end point assessment.


This apprenticeship standard is at Level 7.


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Status: Retired
Level: 7
Degree: non-integrated degree
Reference: ST0480
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 31/05/2022
Approved for delivery: 27 February 2018
Route: Business and administration
Typical duration to gateway : 24 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £18000
LARS Code: 236
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Serco (employer chair), Civil Service (employer chair), Acivico (Birmingham City Council), Anglo Educational, Barclays, BT, Balfour Beatty, Barchester Healthcare, Boots UK Ltd, British Army, BBC, CMI, Co-op, DFS, Grant Thornton, Interserve, JRV Associates, KPMG, Morgan Sindell, NHS (Dept of Health), Nestle, Opus Building Services, Pearson, Pendragon plc, Ricoh, Sainsburys, Santander UK plc, Speedy Services, umi Digital, Unipart, United Utilities plc, Virgin Media, Wincanton, XPO Logistics.

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 End-point assessment plan revised 07/06/2023 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan and standard revised. 29/03/2021 06/06/2023 Not set
1.0 Retired 27/02/2018 28/03/2021 Not set

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